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UMNO is causing Malaysia’s inter-religious harmony to be at an all time low

There should be no restrictions on freedom of religion.

DAP Sabah Secretary and MP for Kota Kinabalu, Chan Foong Hin in a statement yesterday raised his concerns at how UMNO is taking a regressive step by pushing for an amendment of the Federal Constitution to strengthen Shariah law and also to introduce a Control and Restriction on the Propagation of Non-Muslim Religions Bill.

The controversial policy was announced by UMNO’s president, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi during the party’s recent 75th annual general assembly. Understandably, this was made by criticism by the general public, who has had enough of regressive and divisive politics by UMNO.

The Straits Times article screenshot on Zahid’s statement.

Chan questions this appalling move by UMNO, especially considering how it is a part of the ruling coalition. The MP for Kota Kinabalu iterated,


“How can a political party which is part of the ruling coalition in control of both the Sabah Government and the Federal Government make such a call?”


Chan further argued that even without such laws, non-Muslims in Sabah have been living in harmony with Muslims in the state. Hence, amending the Federal Constitution to restrict freedom of religion will adversely affect inter-religious harmony.

The DAP Sabah Secretary also agrees with the stance taken by United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) which stated that should the move by UMNO were to come true, a renegotiation of the federal set-up for Malaysia may be in the cards. To that end, Chan stressed that amending the Federal Constitution into something which is unlike our country’s founding fathers intended would be a grave betrayal to them.

Malaysiakini article screenshot on UPKO’s statement.

The MP for Kota Kinabalu then asserted that is imperative for UMNo leaders such as Zahid to read the Cobbold Commission Report and Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) on the Proposed Federation so that he will realise that freedom of religion is one of the main pillars in the founding of this beloved Federation of Malaysia. Restriction of religion, including propagation, has no part at all in it.

Chan stressed,


“There should be no restrictions on the freedom of religion, period.”


He then challenges UMNO Sabah leaders to state their stand as to whether they agree to pawn the right to freedom of religion that all Sabahans have been enjoying all these years ever since it became part of Malaysia in 1963 in return for a pittance. Chan calls out Bung Mokhtar and Mohamad Alamin, tow UMNO MPs from Sabah to make their stand clear so that voters can make an informed decision whether they are to be trusted to represent the interst of Sabahans.

MP for Kota Kinabalu, Chan Foong Hin.

Chan said that while the Malaysian Federal Constitution is a living document and can be amended by two-thirds supermajority in the Dewan Rakyat, all Sabahan MPs should not slide down the slippery slope sacrificing the larger State’s rights.

The MP for Kota Kinabalu also clarified that even though some argued that non-Muslims won’t be affected, it is not entirely true. In Sabah, there are Native Customary Laws and the Mahkamah Anak Negeri to regulate such laws. Furthermore, there have been many cases of disputes when Shariah Law is involved. These include child custody by a non-Muslim mother, dispute of distribution of assets of a deceased when the parents are non-Muslim and others. – The Rocket.

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